Guest post written by Maria Del Amo-Lombardo, Director, New Market Development at Cathedral Corporation
Nowadays with electronic and print communications, you can receive information in many ways via many devices, software interfaces, and networks – even paper still works. Which do you prefer? Mobile? Text? Email? Direct mail? Social Media? If you are like me, it depends. I personally like to receive emails from people I trust but communicate via text. However, when it comes to doing a little consumer research, I don’t mind reading or searching the web. Do you think your members are any different than you in having preferred channels?
Data from Exact Target’s 2012 The Digital Republic (Report #18), illustrates this point perfectly, showing that 80% of online consumers check email at least once per day . But the same report found that 61% of Twitter users check their feed once a day and that 25% of online consumers aged 18-24 and 25-34 have made a purchase from receiving a Facebook message .
So how do you ensure that your messages and your member communications are effective? Easy answer – don’t just focus on any one channel; use as many channels as you can. Multi-channel communication increases the odds that your message gets read one way or another. The multi-channel approach may sound daunting to some; but it really doesn’t have to be. By using proper planning, communication goals, and response tracking, you can ensure relevant and timely communication, proper utilization of multiple communications vehicles, and accurate measurement of your efforts.
There are three keys to effective multi-channel communication:
Setting up goals
Before you begin a multi-channel communications strategy, it is important that you create goals. Without metrics, how else are you going to show what an awesome job you are doing? Is the goal of your communication strategy to get new members? Is it to engage current members and increase retention? Generate revenue from a specific solution or set of solutions?
Understanding your audience, their needs and preferences
Get to know your audience—your members. When new members join, ask them how they heard about you. Send a survey to members to better understand their needs. Understanding what channels and what types of content resonate best with your members will help you develop an effective multi-channel communications strategy. If I like email and all you’re doing is tweeting, is it any surprise that I don’t know anything about that special year-end car loan special you have?
Don’t forget to evaluate your communications strategy and messaging. Are all of your channels effective? If you discover that most of your members are reporting that they hear of promotions via emails and Facebook, it’s time to reevaluate your Twitter efforts. Constantly evaluating and updating your strategy is the key to success. And do A and B testing of different messages in each channel too – tracking the analytics of response rates is the best way to fine-tune your marketing efforts. There are tools out there that allow you to precisely track your responses, like QR codes, personalized URLs and general promotional URLs.
Don’t overlook the low hanging fruit; remember that you currently communicate with your members even if you don’t think so. Your statements, notices, electronic statements, web site and direct mail are currently vehicles that you are using, and that all of your members read – regardless of whether they tweet or Facebook (if that is a verb!). Maximize the effectiveness of statements by incorporating them into your communication efforts with offers and promotions. Apologies for the modest plug here, but if you don’t have the capability to integrate an extensive marketing database, QR codes and personalized URLs with your statements to offer 1:1 personalized marketing messages, we can help at Cathedral. We might even be able to save you some money in the process by combining statements!
It doesn’t cost any more to maximize your reach and talk to your members using a multi-channel approach – but the opportunities it offers are infinite.
So what are you waiting for? Begin a multi-channel communications strategy today and start reaching more members and more potential members.